Avoiding Plagiarism, Apr 2015

As we near the end of the semester, many students are preparing to write culminating essays and reports.  We know that all undergraduates have taken a First-Year Writing course and that they should be well versed in the procedures for properly incorporating researched information into their papers, yet experience warns us that—whether they are freshmen or seniors—several students need refreshers on this topic.  For example, students typically know that they must cite direct quotations, but many are not so sure about citing material they’ve paraphrased or summarized from outside sources.

In order to mitigate any confusion, consider using class time to review the citation style you would like students to use, familiarize students with UConn’s plagiarism policies (see Plagiarism Resources | University Libraries), and emphasize the consequences of committing plagiarism in your course.  Consider sending students to the First-Year Writing Program’s Statement on Plagiarism, which clearly identifies what plagiarism is and offers “guidelines to avoid misusing sources and committing plagiarism.”  Perhaps better yet, ask your students to complete this interactive Plagiarism module.

This is also a good time to remind students of the option to work with tutors in the Writing Center if they have any questions about information literacy or academic integrity in writing.

Don’t forget, too, about the option to have students submit their papers via SafeAssign on HuskyCT.  This tool both deters students from committing plagiarism and helps you to identify plagiarism in papers.  See this SafeAssign Help link for more information, or contact the Institute for Teaching and Learning at itl@uconn.edu.